The NEXUS Institute

Nexus Institute

The NEXUS Institute is one of 92 high school youth theology institutes funded by the Lilly Endowment, under the oversight of the Forum for Theological Enrichment. NEXUS exists to transform the landscape of the Lutheran Church through innovative and intentional development of young adults who want to be more involved in the nexus of faith, life, and the church.

The institute is a life-changing opportunity where young adults engage in theological learning, leadership development, and vocational discernment, all in the context of intentional Christian community, and are sent out to transform their local communities.

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Welcome to the NEXUS Institute

Full-time ministry is not what it used to be. We need to chart a new course. If you want to get below the surface of simplistic understandings of church and God and how Scripture and faith intersect with the world around you, NEXUS is the place.

Summer 2024 - July 21-27, 2024

Our God is a god of action. There’s nowhere we see this more clearly than the example of Jesus incarnate. Join us as we explore the many ways Jesus acted while on earth and how we can follow him: JESUS VERBS.

Summer 2024 is proudly sponsored by the North American Lutheran Church (NALC).

Click here for a recap of our Summer 2023 Nexus Institute

Click here to see 2023 highlight photos


Apply for NEXUS Nominate a Student for Nexus Pay Registration Fee
Become a Nexus Mentor Request Brochures NEXUS and Other Grand View Scholarships
What is The NEXUS Institute?

The NEXUS Institute is a week-long theology institute for high school students. This life-changing experience of community and learning focuses on engaging young people to explore and consider ministry vocations. Passionate pastors, theology professors, and trained college mentors welcome and walk alongside participants for a week full of meaningful learning, discussions, and fun.

A typical day at NEXUS:

  • Breakfast
  • Morning Worship
  • Old Testament
  • New Testament
  • Small Groups
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon Adventure
  • Dinner
  • Now Class
  • NEXUS Late Night
  • Small Groups
  • Evening Worship

Who are NEXUS partners, and who is NEXUS for?

The NEXUS Institute is funded by a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., with the endowment’s mission of “promoting and supporting religious, educational or charitable purposes.” The heart of NEXUS engaging our young people theologically and giving them opportunities to explore God’s vocational call to ministry, all within a supportive learning community, is for the purpose of raising up future church leaders. NEXUS is a program of Grand View University in Des Moines, IA, which is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

The NEXUS Institute affirms the existence and importance of the larger body of Christ, all those who call Jesus Lord and Savior. Each summer, we focus our theological learning on the Christian scriptures and also practical ministry skills. NEXUS aims to serve the larger Lutheran family (per the original Lilly grant) to inspire and cultivate future ministry leaders in order to further all traditions’ mission to bring the gospel into the world.

Please see our list of current partners and sponsors below.

Our Primary Partners & Sponsors, as of 2020:

If you or an organization are interested in supporting additional NEXUS weeks, please reach out to us.


When Is NEXUS?

The NEXUS Institute will be July 21-27, 2024.

Who can apply?

Applicants must be currently in high school, love Jesus, and want to grow in their faith and understanding. Preference is given to applicants who express an interest in or openness to working in ministry. All applicants will need to indicate two non-family references.

Apply to the NEXUS Institute

How much does NEXUS cost?

Just a $100 registration fee. Participants will have to provide their own transportation to Des Moines, Iowa.

The NEXUS Institute is made possible through a generous grant as part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative. Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family, J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli. Through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company supports the causes of religion, education, and community development. They seek to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians, largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes.

To see a list of our supporters, check out our “Who are NEXUS Partners, and who is NEXUS for” tab above.


I'm a pastor/youth leader, what should I do?
If you’re a pastor or youth director/minister/pastor, there are three main things you can do:
  1. Find those students you know would benefit from this and tell them they should apply!
  2. Nominate a student who should be a part of NEXUS!
  3. Consider attending NEXUS to check it out. (see adult visitor information below)

Adult Attendee

Download Adult Visitor Guidelines

Adult Visitor Application

I'd like to work at NEXUS - what can I do?

If you are a current college or seminary student, consider applying as a NEXUS Mentor. NEXUS Institute college mentors are key players who contribute to participants’ overall experience of Christian community of learning and fellowship by sharing faith, walking alongside as they ask questions and seek understanding, encouraging participants in all areas, and especially supporting participants’ enthusiasm for their own potential as active ministers of the good news of the gospel.

Does this sound like you? Apply today

Nexus Mentor Job Description 


There are several other ways for you to be involved with NEXUS, including participating as a:

  • Speaker
  • Project overseer
  • Local connection

If you’ve got other ideas or want to know more, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

How do I financially contribute to The NEXUS Institute?

We would like to continue providing NEXUS at little-to-no cost for participants. We believe this will have a tremendous impact on the future Church and would love to have you partner with us and what God is doing through The NEXUS Institute!

You can donate to NEXUS here

Is The NEXUS Institute on social media?

Yes, we are! Please be sure to check us out on any of the following:

Have a Question? I Can Help.

Kate Faas
Director of The NEXUS Institute